Materials Theft Legislation

Feb 7, 2024, 17:03 PM
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ISRI Government Relations Staff
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Over 40 materials theft bills in 23 states have been introduced or actively carried over into the 2024 session. While almost all of these still focus on catalytic converters, copper — particularly copper wire and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) — has begun claiming attention as reports of a decrease in catalytic converter thefts circulate nationwide. ReMA members continue to engage policymakers, law enforcement and their communities to encourage requirements that create the tools law enforcement need to identify and prosecute thefts while preserving legitimate purchases that are necessary to supply the high-quality materials needed for the manufacture of new consumer products and infrastructure.

ISRI is offering police departments comprehensive educational training and immersive tours of member facilities to help address this issue. The latest sessions occurred at the Aurora, Colorado police department. Following the training, participants had the opportunity for an educational visit to the Atlas Iron and Metal Corporation facility, led by Ben Rosen, the Rocky Mountain Chapter chair.

Upcoming educational sessions are scheduled in Springfield, Missouri this month in partnership with the Mid-States Organized Crime Information Center (MOCIC) member agencies. MOCIC has representatives from various regions across Missouri registered to participate in the educational session. Moreover, ReMA staff will present at the National Sheriff’s Association (NSA) Conference this month. During the event, ReMA will showcase and engage in discussions on its utility for law enforcement. Additionally, participants are leveraging this opportunity to forge new partnerships with law enforcement agencies to collectively combat metal thefts.

When it comes to legislation concerning materials theft, ReMA has prioritized several states. In Arizona, SB 1053 would create a joint legislative committee on metal theft to review the effectiveness of the current statutes in deterring crime as well as the recycled materials industry’s costs to comply with requirements.

Missouri legislators have introduced several catalytic converter bills for 2024, including HB 2066 by Representative Don Mayhew, who the Missouri Chapter has met with repeatedly over several sessions seeking amendments that would give law enforcement more tools to combat thefts rather than opening loopholes in the current law. The bills are expected to be rolled into a single measure in the House, with further advocacy targeting the Senate.

While bills have not yet been introduced in Minnesota, legislators are expected to follow up on the extensive amendments pushed through in 2023 with more legislation.

In Nebraska, members continue to watch the 2023 carryover LB347, that would require fingerprinting and vehicle info, including the vehicle identification number (VIN), for catalytic converters, and allow payment only by mailed check.

In New Mexico, we continue to follow HB 43 that authorizes the state police to create a marking program for catalytic converters on in-service vehicles, while SB 141 adds a requirement for a state database for reports required by the Sale of Recycled Metals statutes, adds to the existing requirements for catalytic converters, and creates similar requirements for palladium, platinum or rhodium.

In North Carolina, the chapter continues to support SB 267, adding catalytic converters to the secondary metals recycler requirements and making violations a felony. The bill passed the Senate in 2023 but has not yet passed its first committee in the House.

In Ohio, members and chapter lobbyist John Carney are working with the sponsors of Ohio HB 328 and SB 165 to hold a discussion meeting with policymakers, law enforcement, and other stakeholders. Instead of creating duplicative requirements to those already in statute, members are seeking increased enforcement of the existing laws.

In South Carolina, the carry over bill from 2023, H 3052, seeks to roll back changes advocated for by the South Carolina Recyclers Association (SCRA) and law enforcement that were passed in 2021. Legislators have not acted on the bill since it was introduced and referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

In Washington, the chapter supports HB 2153 requiring licensing for all purchasers of catalytic converters, marking of converters to identify the originating vehicle, and felony penalties for violations. The bill is expected to pass its House committees before the short session deadlines.

In Wisconsin, AB 637 / SB 879 make catalytic converter theft a felony; the chapter is seeking amendments to clarify the requirement.

For useful information on materials theft, please access our member resources that include the following:

ISRI’s State Resources and Tracking webpages will continue to keep members up to date on legislation impacting recyclers by state or issue. Members can also access our latest bi-weekly ISRI State Update on Region and Chapter Policy Activities sent to ISRI’s Lobbyist Network. The update is compiled from submissions from our members and member-affiliated lobbyists.

Over 40 materials theft bills in 23 states have been introduced or actively carried over...
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